Fisherman's Wharf is in North Beach. It's the San Francisco nieghborhood that's bounded by Columbus Ave. on the west, Broadway on the south, and the bay to the north and east. Although we used to separately refer to the area along the waterfront where there was actual shipping as the Embarcadero, and people still do. North Beach is sometimes referred to as Little Italy, but that's just a tourist label these days. The Italians moved to the suburbs. The melding of Chinatown and North Beach is nothing new -- that's been the intrinsic nature of the area for as long as I can remember.
North Beach has meant different things to different people over the years. During the Vietnam War, it meant the strip clubs along Broadway to some. Before that, it meant the coffee and book shops along Grant Ave. to others. Some people identify it as the area around Washington Square -- that was the commercial center when you could conduct business in English or Italian, as you chose. The parish boundaries of St. Peter's and Paul's is another way of looking at it. But it's all North Beach.
And yeah. We used to wonder where the beach was too.
I've steadily over the years seen everything change. I remember the Embarcadero Freeway and how it was kind of an eyesore even though it made it really easy to get to North Beach and Chinatown. Just last week I was trying to get on the Bay Bridge and it was ridiculously trying to move at all because of construction at the new Transbay Terminal. Back then there were still railroad tracks all over San Francisco, even though many had been decommissioned. Didn't some SP trains stop right in front of the Ferry Building?
I don't know of anyone who thinks of Fisherman's Wharf as being a section of North Beach these days. And it's basically infill. I know there was some liquefaction in North Beach, but that section of the Marina just turned to goo and those houses sank. This map shows all the infill, although much of it is interior fill and not previously submerged.